and Innovation in Photography

24 June 2011 05:43 PM CDT

The moment I found I was intrigued.  There are several crowd-sourced fundraising websites out there, but for some reason I seem to be drawn to Kickstarter.  First, the concept is fantastic: crowd source fundraising efforts for individual or group projects.  To me it seems like an excellent engine for fueling creativity.  Get people to literally buy-in to your vision for a unique project, product, or experience.  If you head over to you'll see several examples of all kinds of interesting projects currently seeking funding.

Here are a few elements I like about their model:

  1. You must select a funding target.
  2. You must select a fundraising completion date.
  3. You must offer something in return for the money you raise (i.e. a pair of sunglasses if you're endeavoring to create the next best shades).
  4. You only receive funds if you reach your target by the funding date.

Now, time for me to discuss a few neat projects I found over at

I love photography and I love monitoring various innovations taking place in the field.  For example, I'm a big fan of panoramic and spherical photography.  You can see some of my own panoramic images over at my Flickr account, or at my account.

Several months ago I discovered a company that develops a lens and accompanying software package for making immersive spherical video.  If you don't know what that is, I understand.  I think the best way to explain is to give an example.  Here's an immersive spherical image I took down by the Cumberland River here in Nashville, Tennessee.  Click the image and drag around to see in all directions.

2011 01-11 The Cumberland River and Downtown Nashville, Tennessee

Here's the deal, the above image is a PHOTOGRAPH, not a VIDEO.  Immersive spherical video offers the same 360 degree perspective, but of a VIDEO.  Pretty amazing, huh?!  Here's the first lens and software package I found that offers this capability: The GoPano Plus.  The GoPano Plus works with a wide variety of digital cameras that record video (a digital SLR, for example).  To buy the lens and the software you'll have to shell out over 1,000.  Here's a video offering an Optic Tutorial for how to use the GoPano Plus.

When I first found the GoPano Plus I was pretty amazed.  A rig for your camera that allows you to make immersive 360 degree videos.  So cool!  Well, the other day I found something that trumps that.  Over at I found two projects where young companies are looking to build a similar product for use on the IPHONE.  The IPHONE!  The plan for both separate companies is to develop similar optics and accompanying iPhone apps so anyone can make an immersive 360 degree video with their iPhone.  Unreal!

Both companies have reached their funding targets.  One company has already closed, and the other will close on July 3.  If you're at all interested in photography I suggest you watch the videos below.

Project Number One : GoPano Micro.

Project Number Two : Kogeto's Dot.

So, there you have it, innovation in photography funded via  Awesome.